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‘Not a businessman’: Hong Kong’s next chief faces test on the economy in 2022

Hong Kong’s chief faces a test for the economy. After two years of political crackdowns and epidemic controls, John Lee is about to take over the business hub.

Hong Kong’s long-awaited John Lee compared himself to a conductor capable of orchestrating a “new orchestra” for the global financial hub.

Lee, who is running in a close and the relatively small election on May 8 as the only “legitimately qualified candidate”, has had his job cut.

Lee will take over a city ravaged by two periods of political repression and strict immigration rules, which spurred the departure of highly experienced workers and turned the economic hub. The globe once flourished into one of the most remote places in the world.

Lee pledged to boost economic growth, solve the city’s housing problem, reduce unemployment and strengthen governance in an a-page policy brief released last week.

The Chinese government’s support for Lee, who was previously Hong Kong’s second-largest official, is often interpreted as a symbol of China‘s preference for security over trade. Lee, former professional police and security chief, lacks the economics of his successors, who were linked to a property inspector and a wealthy shipping magnate.

Two decades after taking over Hong Kong, China is getting tougher | The  EconomistLee oversaw the detention of countless people under a controversial national security measure. The Kong Chamber of Commerce, Tara Joseph, said that having a business hub like Hong Kong run by someone with business expertise was breathable.

“He has the ability to speak clearly.” That is right. However, he is not a businessman. Joseph, who became a managing partner at the firm Risk Policy of America, told news outlets he has no business ties. He has ties to the surveillance apparatus, the source said. In part, Mr. Joseph fled Hong Kong because of the city’s harsh global epidemic prevention measures.

‘The jury did not allow whether Lee or any other politician should be allowed to separate, distinguish Hong Kong’s COVID operations from those in the mainland.

The longer Hong Kong is cut off from the rest of the world, the more damage it does. We know well how many people leave. We are aware that this is devastating, she said.

According to people interviewed in Beijing, its focus of Lee on security still would not come at the expense of the economy.

Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li's FWD makes U.S. IPO filing public | ReutersFormer Finance Minister Frederick Ma expressed confidence in Lee’s ability to find savvy business advisors who can help steer the economy in the right direction.

You rely on people if you are a good leader, Ma told the media. “He has to secure the support of qualified people.” And if he can find capable people to work well together, I am very optimistic for the future.

Ma believes it is essential for the next leader of the city to clear doubts about the city’s global anti-coronavirus policy, which emphasises restoring the city’s border with mainland China compared to the rest of the world while not recovering travel without quarantine with any of them.

I think the important thing seems to be that you come with a choice; if you want to raise land borders, go ahead and do it; if you have to go the world road, go ahead and do it, he declared.

Hong Kong has to “extend its global connectivity” and “generate a more favorable business environment,” according to Lee, stressing the importance of connecting the city with the motherland.

“Unless Hong Kong’s borders are opened, it will limit its prospects for global economic advancement,” George Cautherley, a Hong Kong businessman, told reporters. “I’m afraid there aren’t any other possibilities.”

A broken piece of jade': the turbulent future of Hong Kong | Financial TimesThe narrator says, “There are two bosses.”

Lee assembled a steering committee of eighteen prominent politicians and businessmen, including Li KaShing, the city’s richest man, entertainment mogul, and real estate developer Allan Zeman.

Lee, according to Zeman, will negotiate with China to see how to re-establish the border with the mainland.

“I hope to come out safe and healthy,” Zeman told reporters. “He seems to have a great deal of respect and recognition, especially from Beijing.” Lee is the outcome, and he is a team worker, and he claims to know how everything remains to be improved, and I assume arriving out of protection, he has various kinds of support from people, particularly from Beijing.”

“This is not an easy position for everybody,” Zeman added, explaining that the town is torn between wanting to be exposed to the rest of the globe and the need to reunite with the mainland and is cautious of coronavirus infections crossing its land boundary.

As a result, you will have to deal with two bosses.

Inside China's Zero-Covid Fortress, Xi Jinping Admits No Doubts - The New  York TimesRonny Tong, a close assistant to present Chief Executive Carrie Lam, expects Lee will make the reopening of Hong Kong as a key priority.

As far as fighting COVID19 and reopening the borders of Hong Kong, I am convinced this is the part required path to revitalising Hong Kong’s economy. And I am confident it would be the first item he would respond to if and when he is nominated, Tong told the media.

Lee has repeatedly tried to argue that he is not tied to any commercial interest groups and comes “baggage free.”

“My major concern is the entire interest, not the focus of any particular industry,” he declared last month during a press conference.

John Lee “brings a new mindset to the government,” according to a representative of the Hong Kong National Business Association.

“Lee is committed to dealing with customers and businesses to address longstanding concerns in Hong Kong, such as housing collapse,” the spokeswoman said. “With a strong agreement and a plan in place, we are confident that the city will be able to bounce back.”

Former Jefferies Group Asia president Jonathan Slone, now a venture capitalist, believes the market will become an “increasingly important focus” under the new government.

Slone told the reporters, I think they will be practical. Will the corporate sector achieve?

On the other hand, many people are more cautious.

Woman rescued 50 hours after China building collapseHerbert Chow, a pro-democracy businessman, said that Lee was given an impossible mission to revive the economy.

“We will explore how he can strike the right balance between ending the back-and-forth loop, dancing, and relaxing in the face of tightening COVID restrictions,” Chow told news outlets.

Many companies, according to Chow, “do not care” whether Lee, who has promised additional national defence measures, escalates the brutal crackdown.

“I believe most business groups are not interested in how the security forces mend their connection with the people or whether Hong Kong is still a surveillance state,” said Chow, who said last year that he would be relocating his family’s Chickeeduck clothing business abroad due to government stress.

When asked if Hong Kong could return to its glory days, Joseph, senior president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said the city was facing a “new reality”.

“I recognise that people may have to adjust,” she continued. “Risks exist as Hong Kong is no more as globally connected as it once was.” She might find a way out of such a disaster, but as a metropolis of China. “

Edited by Prakriti Arora



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